Monday, April 30, 2007

This Sunday was for...

... staying under the covers and flicking through books: Fernando Pessoa's dreamy The Book Of Disquiet...

... Kyoichi Tsuzuki's photos of Japanese residential interiors in Universe For Rent....

Rinko Kawauchi's translucent photos of everyday life...

This Sunday was for eating last night's dessert for breakfast...

For cleaning up...

For sorting through the dry cleaning...

For planning our meals for the week...

This Sunday was for jumping on the Tube...

and walking down a long tunnel...

to pop into the V&A for the New York Fashion Now exhibition, featuring a range of young NYC designers such as Costello Tagliapietra...

John Varvatos...

And Jean Yu...

This Sunday was for wandering through Hyde Park, eating hot dogs and admiring the flower beds...

Then popping into the Serpentine for a look at a magnificent concrete bunker complete with trumpeters, drummers and flautists playing from within, by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla who were exploring the relationship between sound, music and war...

Then to a boring exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery featuring a collection of found photos, largely from automatic photo booths, yawwwnnn...

This Sunday was also for buying provisions, from Green Lanes...


From Arigato...

And from Turnpike Lane fishmongers...

This Sunday was also for buying gifts for little girls from the V&A and Bureau Trading...

Wrapped up in funky paper from The Photographers' Gallery...

And fridge magnets from Bureau Trading on Little Newport Street and art cards (Bernd and Hilda Becher, Gerhard Richter and Wolfgang Tilsman) from the Serpentine Gallery for M and I...

This Sunday ended with a lovely birthday dinner for a little girl at Khoai Cafe in Crouch End where seven of us devoured some rather delicious Vietnamese food and drink.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Out walking

Today, the sky was blue, the sun was bright and the gentle breeze was hot, so we took the Tube to Kew Gardens and walked along the Thames Path to Ham. The last time I'd walked this part of the Thames Path was all the way back in 2005.

Time glided by as we chatted gently with one another then fell silent and became fully aware of our movements, sounds, smells and our own thoughts...

In Richmond, we stopped off for pork bratwursts, mustard potatoes and huge glasses of German beer at the amazing Stein's.



Refreshed and invigorated, we Tubed it back to central London for a stroll through St James' Park.


Then to Panton Street for a documentary on the incomparable dark crooner, Scott Walker. My husband has never understood my passion for Walker, whose The Electrician is my favourite song of all time. M had to heavily edit our wedding dinner playlist because it featured too much Walker. The documentary itself was a little too nerdish, a little too reverent for my tastes. Hearing the man's brooding, sonorous voice, though, booming out of the cinema speakers and seeing the reclusive man himself speaking on the big screen brought silly, girlish tears to my eyes. The man has that effect on me.

Then back home for a dinner of numbing and hot chicken and a dessert of red bean mocha balls.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Friday notes

Random notes from my day, in reverse chronological order.
  • Logging out now, have a good weekend!
  • We were going to go to the New York Fashion Now exhibition at the V&A tonight, followed by dinner at Polish restaurant Wodka. But I'm not feeling very well so it's a night in with a light supper of spaghetti tossed with basil leaves, olive oil, garlic, cherry tomatoes, freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Then one of the DVDs I bought recently - Tony Takitani perhaps, or Performance, Crash or Munich.
  • In my team there is a a guy from Philadelphia, a woman from Chicago, a woman from Germany, a guy from Holland, a guy from Scotland and three of us who are English.
  • I'm annoyed! I had a lovely wander through Soho again during lunch and picked up a whopper of a beef burrito at Beach Burrito Cafe on Brewer Street. My colleagues eat these all the time and I'd never had one. I was happily eating at my desk and was already planning on throwing alot of it away because it is so damn filling. Then the colleague who sits next to me - a Dutch man not known for his tact - said, "You're gonna eat all of that? My God!" He then outlined an hourglass figure with his hands and said, "Oh, it's okay though cause you're married!" First, it's shocking he can say that to any woman (no wonder he's eternally single) and second, the implication that I no longer need to think about my figure now I'm married is blatantly wrong. I ignored the silly man, but from then on I was conscious of every mouthful.
  • It was the New Look store next to M&S on Oxford Street that was ablaze last night. Half of Oxford Street was still closed this morning as there is still the fear the building could collapse. Luckily no casualties have been reported. The street is eerily quiet with no buses or cars on it.
  • I'm preparing for my annual review. One of the questions is What are your four biggest goals for this year? I've found the best way of answering this question is to think of the four things I'm most nervous about doing. In my experience, these tend to be the things I need to do the most.
  • Glimpse is a brilliant site - a search engine for clothes and accessories that functions like an online store, complete with thumbnails of each item. Wish there was a British version.
  • I wonder what would happen if I didn't switch on a computer for the entire duration of this weekend? How would I feel? What would change? What would I do? What would happen if I extended that experiment into my weekday evenings - not turning on the computer after and before work - for a day, for a week? I'd certainly miss recording my activities, but what if I only blogged on my site and didn't look at any others? Thought inspired by this blog entry.

Friday, April 27, 2007

On fire

My work party last night was filled with cheesy music and chessy food and was good fun but as it started so early (6.30) and as it was just on our roof terrace it was tempting to keep nipping back to our desks to check email, which most of my team did. So when M called around 7.30 and said he was in a cab and should we go out, I said why not. A store next to M&S on Oxford Street was on fire so we turned down Wardour Street and turned into Italian Graffiti. We started with calamari fritti, which had a delectably light batter. Then M had a Napoletana pizza with just the right depth of base and with extra anchovies. I had a bocconi giganti al pesto - parcels filled with pesto and ricotta. Not as good as the pizza, and a little on the small side, but nice enough.


The glutton that I am, I was still hungry afterwards so we popped into Yauatcha on Broadwick Street for a bag of kumquat and matcha macarons and two small cakes: fraise tabda for me and yuzu for him. Yauatcha desserts always come in such pretty boxes (above). We ate the desserts at home watching the sexy Lower City on DVD - the story of a love triangle between friends Deco and Naldinho and stripper Karinna in the steamy underworld of the Brazilian port of Salvador de Bahia.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sea bream and pickled vegetables


The previous night, M had marinated some cucumbers, carrots, ginger and daikon in a little rice wine vinegar and left to pickle gently overnight. Last night, he served them with spinach gently heated through with sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds as well as with a surprisingly light dish of meaty sea bream chunks steamed with Japanese rice and dashi stock. Unfortunately, the photo makes it look far more stodgy than it was.

Speaking of stodgy, tonight, I'm out at a Krispy Creme and Beard Papa party at work.

Midweek rambles

More random words from my Google Notes so far this week. It's quite interesting keeping track of my thoughts and activities in bite-size form throughout the working day. I blog so little about my everyday working life and the silly, mundane thoughts that rise to the surface. Now it's pretty easy.

Today...
  • The thought that M's cooking sea bream on rice with Japanese pickled vegetables tonight, which he marinated last night, is making me itch for it to be dinner time already.
  • Rushing to finish off a hosting proposal so I can chair the brainstorm meeting with creatives in half an hour.
  • Those London free newspaper guys need to be shot - they get in my way, they make me trip over the disgarded newspapers, and they can't take no for an answer!
  • I'll be definitely checking some of these out in NYC next month (have already been to the excellent Azul Bistro).
  • Walking around Soho at lunchtime is a lovely thing to do. The streets are not packed and I can indulge in a few rosie apples hard candy from the quaint Mrs Kibble's Olde Sweet Shoppe on Brewer Street.
  • Why do some men ruin the look of their perfectly nice suit by wearing the trousers so short in the leg? I do not want to see even a hint of sock as you walk, mister - you look like a schoolboy! And while you're at it, note that the wet look hair gel you use makes you look like you're ten years old. Oh yes, and polish those shoes for God's sake - why, why?
  • Today, I mustn't be deceived by the weather again. Yesterday, the morning was cool and grey so I wore my favourite Nicole Farhi sweater. By the end of the day, I was baking and felt like a frump. So today, the sky is grey and the breeze is cool but I will not be stumped. I'm wearing my pretty little Oasis blouse. I bet it freezes up today...
  • Remember to book Wodka in Kensington for dinner.
  • Lunch today is rocket and spinach salad with cherry tomatoes, stuffed vine leaves, a sprinkle of mixed seeds, raisins and dried cranberries and a little Turkish sheeps cheese.
Yesterday...
  • Marc Jacobs - very nice.
  • Joi Ito's going very Zen these days. I like it.
  • A senior colleague said to me this morning, "For someone who looks so lovely and sweet, you have a ruthless business brain." I'm hoping this was a compliment!
  • Yey, Handbrake DVD-to-iPod converter is now available for Windows.
  • I've got another headache - aargh!
  • When I first got my new work laptop I got headaches and eye strain peering at my new 1680 x 1050 pixel screen resolution. It's amazing and a little scary how soon the eyes get used to it.
  • Derek Lam's collection looks fabulous. I can't afford it, but this girl will be drooling as I window shop my way around NYC next month.
  • McDonald's to team up with the Vegetarian Society seeking accreditation for a range of vegetarian-compliant products, including a strawberry milkshake and a burger - what?!
  • Why do people dawdle by Tube entrances getting in the way of the stream of people on their way to work?!
  • For all my excitement and, I admit it, smugness about being married, there's a part of me that sometimes feels ultra conventional and a little past it now...
  • Remember olive oil and Turkish bread for dinner tonight.
  • Rye bread, cherry tomatoes, Napolina salami slices and Turkish sheep cheese for lunch today.
  • I am annoyed. Why can't people talk to each other to resolve an issue. Picking up the phone is so much more effective than endless rounds of emails cc'ing all and sundry!
Day before yesterday....
  • Logging off, over and out.
  • Can't believe the day went by without a single meeting - a miracle.
  • Proof-reading a document for one of our big charity clients - attention to detail is critical.
  • The day has gone by so quickly. Off home to cook chicken jalfrezi for me and M, using chicken leftover from last night's roast dinner. Will fry chicken, onions, garlic and ginger with dried cumin, coriander and turmeric and some dried red chillis, then slosh it all around with fresh tomatoes. Yum!
  • Sorting out a few things that the client has messed up on a site we built for them.
  • Sorting out client invoicing.
  • Walking in heels all day does wonders for the legs - beats the gym at least!
  • Okay, lunch over, back to work!
  • I actually like the sound of blogger ChubbyHubby's favourite comfort food: beef bovril, mixed with steamed rice and butter, topped with a fried egg. "I used to eat this as a child and still love the flavors today." Courtesy of the always excellent and very addictive Serious Eats site.
  • Have to make it here: http://www.whitney.org.
  • Tacita Dean at the Guggenheim.
  • Art in NYC.
  • More art in NYC links.
  • Need to visit here when we go to NYC next month.
  • Currently reading about quick repsonse codes, geotagging, tag clouds, news maps, behavioural targeting, vlogging, mobile media on demand and more - very interesting stuff - no, seriously! Have I mentioned before that I love my job!
  • India is considering reducing the amount of time it takes a foreigner to adopt an Indian child from a year to 45 days. This is very, very, very good news and one I am keeping tabs on.
  • Must remember to pop into an Orange store to look for a basic, easy-to-use, big buttoned mobile phone for my dad. The clerks keep wanting to sell him the latest sophisticated all-singing, all-ringing mobile gizmo but all he wants is something to receive and make calls - he doesn't even text and certainly doesn't need photo and MP3 functionality.
  • My lunch today: roast chicken pieces and tabbouleh left over from last night's dinner, enriched with dried cranberries and raisins and mixed seeds, plus a few pieces of Turkish sheep cheese. Lovely!
  • I dread opening my work emails on a Monday morning usually. But this morning it is fine - only 45 emails and most of it company-wide mail. All is well - projects I'm managing are all in hand - most unusual and I mustn't speak too soon. It means, though, that I can focus on new business research today - thank God for good project managers.
  • Another lovely, warm day. I love it now I can wear my sleeveless tops. Still not warm enough to wear my floaty short skirts, but soon, soon...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Moroccan meatballs and Turkish bread

Tonight after work, I mixed 250g of minced beef from Baldwins with a heaped teaspoon each of chopped garlic, paprika and salt. I shaped them into nine balls and put them in a hot oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, I gently fried a heaped teaspoon of whole cumin seeds, half a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes and four diced garlic cloves in olive oil until they gently sizzled. Then I added a can of plum tomatoes and the quartered flesh of two large tomatoes. I brought it to the boil then lowered the heat to a simmer as I added a tablespoon of pomegranate concentrate (from any Middle Eastern grocery), a teaspoon each of salt and sugar and the meatballs. I let the stew simmer gently for 20 minutes. When it was ready, I served it with fresh diced parsley and hot Turkish flat bread. Once again, the addition of pomegranate concentrate lifted the entire dish above the usual tomato-based stew.

A very quick, weeknight dinner.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Something for the weekend

The house has been dusted and hoovered, the laundry has been done, breakfast of Mysore coffee, Napoli salami slices, Turkish sheep cheese and the last of the Gorgonzola has been eaten, M's at the gym but will pick up minced beef, a whole chicken and fresh prawns on his way back for various meals this week. There's still a big grocery shop for the week to do and it will be lovely to enjoy this glorious weather with a stroll through the park later. For now, however, I can settle in at my computer and reflect on our weekend so far.

So far this weekend, we've watched... The Oscar-winning German movie The Lives Of Others at the Barbican on Friday night. It's a highly textured, elegant and magnificently crafted thriller and love story played out in the German Democratic Republic in the 1980s and revolves around the lives of a playwright and his actress girlfriend under surveillance by a Stasi captain who begins to falsify his reports in order to protect the couple. Last night, we collapsed after a busy day out with a DVD of witty French comedy Look At Me - a film I first saw at the cinema back in 2004 - about a young amateur musician's fraught relationship with her famous author father.

We've eaten... delicious ribeye steak and chips (him) and calves liver with sage, bacon and mash (me) followed by rhubarb and apple crumble with cream (me) and vanilla cheesecake with orange puree (him) at Smiths of Smithfield in Farringdon. The food was excellent and the spacious warehouse setting with creaking wooden floors and stripped back red brick walls atmospheric, but the braying City workers there on Friday night made the place unbearably noisy.

Yesterday, M made the perfect comfort dish huevos rancheros (above) for breakfast. Later, in Soho, we lunched on humous, grated carrots and spinach on rye and washed it down with green tea (him) and a freshly-squeezed antioxidant juice with oranges, pomegranates, cranberries, ginger and mint at Planet California.

When we got home, after a stimulating and long day browsing shops and galleries, we snacked on Napolina salami, Kalamata olives and Gorgonzola from Lina Stores in Soho, rye bread from the Nordic Bakery in Golden Square, Turkish sheep cheese from Green Lanes and sipped Champagne (above) as we watched all the London editions of Location, Location, Location on Replay.

Later, for dinner, we ate crayfish ravioli with fresh basil from Lina Stores and finished it off with some wonderfully smooth, microbially fermented Pu Erh tea we'd bought earlier in the day from the delightfully knowledgeable and enthusiastic East Teas on Dering Street (above). Dessert was the always exquisite blackcurrent tarte (me) and Assam praline (him) from Yauatcha (below). We'd also bought some fig violet, kumquat and green tea macarons, but we'll save them for later today.

We've viewed... Andreas Gursky again at the White Cube in Mason's Yard and the Spr├╝th and Magers gallery, Philippe Parreno at the Haunch of Venison, photos of beauty pageant contestants from Russia and Bangkok at the White Space Gallery's Being Beauteous exhibition on Vere Street, the colourful, lyrical and expressionistic paintings of Vietnamese artist Tran Truang Tin at Asia House (who deserves an entire Planethalder post to himself), and at the Riflemaker Gallery on Beak Street the Tracey Emin-esque visual journal recollections (below) of South Korean artist Chosil Kil after her week-long fling with a Latvian self-styled, and rather dull, boho she met at a party in Copenhagen.

Often, it doesn't matter whether I enjoy the artist I am viewing or not as I enjoy exploring the gallery buildings themselves just as much. The Haunch of Venison, for example, featured the nondescript work of Parreno but is wonderfully located off a secluded yard and is spaced across three floors. There are high ceilings, old wooden floors and a sweeping white banister and grey cement stairway. The Riflemaker featured recollections of a rather boring young man but is the West End's oldest public building - a Georgian riflemaker's workshop dating from 1712 - and is full of creaking, dark, rotting spaces. The White Cube in Piccadilly's thrilling Gursky exhibition is housed in a spectacular grey and white bunker of a building hidden inside an anonymous courtyard. The White Space Gallery sits on the top floor of a nondescript and tired church building off Oxford Street - St Peter's Church, which also houses the Institute for Contemporary Christianity - but its exhibition of photos from the the likes of Juergen Teller and Martin Parr were much more engaging.

We also... Browsed through racks of clothes at DKNY (we'll buy in NYC next month as the dollar is so weak - it hit $2 to £1 this week - hurrah!!), Pringle and Muji, and saw teeny tiny and disturbingly orange-skinned Victoria Beckham coming out of Alexander McQueen on Old Bond Street.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Random notes

I've got Google Notebook set up on my work and home computers so I can keep track of things seamlessly and frequently. Whenever I want to make a note of a URL or a thought or a reminder or an observation, I simply click the Open Notebook button in the corner of my browser status bar and note away. They're not very coherent, unfortunately contain a lot of exclamation marks and, like a blog, they're in reverse chronological order, but here are my unedited Friday notes before I log off for the day and go and meet my husband:
  • Dandy Yankie on the department iPod speakers for a fitting end to the work end!
  • I love Google Notebook.
  • It's Friday!!!!!
  • Another hot date with my husband tonight - dinner and a movie, how quaint.
  • I love my job! (Just in case keystroke logging software's been installed on my company's servers!)
  • Those lovely summer smocks all the girls are wearing makes it difficult to tell who's pregnant or not on the Tube
  • The office feels very quiet - many are off in NYC, others have taken a half day
  • The chunky chocolate fudge dessert from EAT was a yummy moment for me today
  • It's funny, but most of the time I feel like my head is empty - not in a good, Zen way, but in a vacuous, "I'm so thick" way. This week I've forced myself to remember that I have a PhD, that I must have been brainy to get it, and reminding myself of that has made me more alert and alive. I'm not talking to people self-consciously thinking, "Oh what I'm saying is so thick!"
  • This morning the sky is grey but it's okay because the light is still clear and I'm warm inside my cashmere jumper.
  • My neighbour has some exquisite white calla lilies in his front garden. He's an elegant old man - Greek perhaps, or maybe even Turkish - and he takes care of his appearance and walks everyday to the shops with his walking cane.
  • There's nothing better than walking somewhere and being fully in the body. Usually my head is full but this morning walking to work I was entirely aware of my movements across the streets and was entirely relaxed in my body.
  • Yelp - Restaurant Reviews, Doctors, Bars, Salons, Dentists and More
  • StumbleUpon » Welcome to StumbleUpon

Friday, April 20, 2007

My so-called life

Today I have
  • Written a new business proposal for a top international news channel
  • Written a mid-project review presentation for a top international charity
  • Wondered why my annual review hasn't been scheduled in yet
  • Chatted with HR whether it's worth merging my existing pension with the company one
  • Eaten leftover chilli tofu and rice for lunch at my desk
  • Enjoyed the freedom of walking outside into sunshine in heels that don't hurt
  • Enjoyed the sensation of a cute guy checking me out at length then not checking me out when he catches sight of my wedding and engagement rings glinting proudly in the sunshine
  • Realised I need to get my hair cut urgently as my hair is getting caught in too many things now
  • Browsed The Gap, Oasis, Top Shop and Zara for pretty summer blouses, but hold back from buying cause I've already bought four pretty summer blouses from The Gap, Oasis, Top Shop and Zara this week
  • Nearly eaten an entire packet of Ambala Bombay Mix
  • Waited for M to come home from work while nearly eating that entire packet of Ambala Bombay Mix
  • Worried about M's long working hours knowing that his department has surrendered one person to suicide and another to The Priory in recent months
  • Only read up to number 3 of a book called 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married by Linda and Charlie Bloom
  • Eaten pasta with gooey Gorgonzola and broccoli for dinner
  • Browsed through far too many blogs in my Google Reader account
  • Read New Woman and Grazia magazines cover to cover
  • Chastised myself for not spending the evening more usefully, such as reading literature or the newspaper or painting my toenails
  • Now trying to resist the urge to check work emails from home

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Home alone

I've been home alone since last night as M is in France working on a case. Luckily, these lovely ladies have been keeping me company.

I've also been indulging in some skincare experiments. Ren's Omega 3 Overnight Lipid Renewal Serum makes my skin glow with rude health the next morning, even after an early work-week wake up call. Tonight, I'm trying Clarins Facial Treatment Oil - Santal. Tomorrow night, I will try good old-fashioned, and cheap, almond oil and decide which is best for me.

I don't yet have wrinkles but my skin does get dry. I only use moisturiser on my face, and only then in the morning. My mother has only ever used Nivea on her face and her skin is beautifully smooth. A friend of mine told me long ago never to touch the face too much and to never over-rub the skin even with cream. Her skin is wrinkle free and she's in her mid-thirties now.

Update (19 April): Result! It's the Ren Omega 3 Serum - what a standout that is. My skin is positively dew-like. I should buy shares in Ren!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Anchored and free

Committing myself to M by getting married to him has been one of the most mature and responsible decisions I've ever made. I feel very grown up, which is silly as I've been a grown up for years! I've never been that successful in love and a couple of years ago I was wondering if I'd ever meet a man I could contemplate a forever-relationship with - someone to laugh with, someone to cook with, someone to wander through art galleries with, someone to try out new restaurants with, someone to travel to exciting cities around the world with, someone sexy and rational and sorted. When I finally met that someone, I leapt at the chance of being with him forever.

I feel anchored, rooted and yet, curiously, free. Marriage is liberating. I've got a great circle of friends and family, I've gained a masters and a PhD, I've lived and travelled abroad and had some amazing adventures, I've survived illness, I'm in a career I love... and yet searching for and keeping a mate has taken up far too much headspace than it deserves down the years. I know my marriage will have its downs as well as its ups, but this level of commitment means I can now focus much more on the world around me and in turn enjoy that world with M beside me. The ultimate amazing thing? I get to spend my time with my best friend, forever.

I've been married for less than two months, so obviously I have alot of insight into this marriage malarkey (not)! However, I've discovered a few things on this short ride thus far...

Planethalder's simple rules of marriage:
  • Don't let yourself go
  • Remember to say please and thank you
  • Snog, alot
  • Be each other's best friend
  • Continue to date
  • Continue to explore
  • Laugh, alot
  • Don't get lost in the insular world of "we"
  • Give each other space
  • Respect each other's unknown spaces
I'll review this list in a year's time.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Shubho Nabobarsho

All the Indian and Bangladeshi ladies on Turnpike and Green Lanes are dressed in their finery. Happy New Bengali Year everyone!

Zipping around

Yesterday, we saw loads of drawing-based animation films at the Momentary Momentum exhibition at the Parasol Unit in Old Street. Much of it was too whimsical for my liking, but there were a few I particularly liked: Paul Bush and Lisa Milroy's Geisha Grooming about a Geisha preparing herself for a night out on the town, from powdering her face and cleaning her ears with buds, to tweaking the position of her hair grips and putting on her headphones to listen to music as she heads out; Avish Khebrehzadeh's Backyard - a poetic Persian garden landscape through which children, old men, young lovers and animals move as if in a dream; Christine Rebert's Brand Band News, projected inside a wooden shed, in which two sisters fade away to be replaced by a cowboy, a galloping horse and then a theatre to the backdrop of a country song. My favourite was Jochen Kuhn's eerie Sonntag 1 (picture above), in which a bored middle-aged man strolls through a virtually deserted German city on a Sunday morning upset that nothing captures his imagination or is worth noticing anymore.

We also popped next door to the Victoria Miro for the late Ian Hamilton Finlay's The Sonnet is a Sewing-Machine for the Monostich. The luminous neon wall texts pulsating from the huge blackened upper gallery were particularly atmospheric and drew our attention to the artistic nature of words as images.

At the White Cube in Hoxton we saw Eberhard Havekost's brilliant photographic paintings of random scenes from everyday life, from a lounge chair and the side of a clapboard house, to the close-up of the face of a man in combat taken from the TV news and the spiky fronds of a palm tree.

A quick scoot around the SCP interiors store on Curtain Street and then across the road for a satisfyingly greasy lunch of bacon cheeseburgers, fries, potato skins, colas and vanilla milkshakes at The Diner.

We then walked to Bethnal Green for a couple of boring shows at the Maureen Paley and Herald Street galleries. Much like Old Street, Hoxton and Shoreditch, only pockets of interesting bars, restaurants and shops exist in Bethnal Green - the rest is entirely derelict space devoid of people or personality.

We cabbed it to Chinatown and Soho to stock up on vital provisions for the week ahead:
  • Kiehl's scrub soap (for him) and Ren shampoo and conditioner (for me) from Liberty. Truly, my hair has never been in better condition since I started using Ren products.
  • Green tea powder to make ice cream from, block tofu and daikon from Arigato.
  • Pasta, block parmesan and gooey Gorgonzola from Lina Stores Delicatessen.
  • Pak choi, groundnut oil and another lidded tea mug from Loon Fung.
  • Indian Mysore coffee beans from the Algerian Coffee Store.
Tired out, we zipped back home to dump our purchases and chill out with glasses of iced pomegranate juice and then it was back into town again for an amazing night with the sexy-as-ever Jessica Lange in The Glass Menagerie at the Apollo on Shaftesbury Avenue. It's been a while since we've been to the theatre. The performances from all were enthralling and the stage sets and lighting were suitably dreamlike and atmospheric. The final plaintive gesture of the character Laura blowing out the candles leaving the hall in total darkness brought tears to my eyes.

Today, we're staying local. M's at the gym and the laundry is on full throttle. I've discovered the joy of reading blogs via Google Reader on the mobile phone in bed with my morning coffee. We'll nip out to the local shops for a few more bits and pieces like detergent and stuffed vine leaves. We may make some green tea ice cream. My mother-in-law is in town, so we'll be having either lunch or dinner with her and M's sister later on. The sun is shining again. Another wonderful weekend.